Laparoscopy is a technique which allows a surgeon to access the abdomen and reproductive organs. The word laparoscopy comes from the Greek words that mean "look into the abdomen." A laparoscope is a small telescope that is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision (cut). It brings light into the abdomen so the doctor can see inside.

Uses of Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a very flexible technique. It can be used diagnostically or operatively. There are many instances where laparoscopy may be recommended. Laparoscopy may be used if you have problems with infertility or if you want to be sterilized. It is also used to check for ectopic pregnancy, causes of pelvic pain and masses.

Diagnosis and Surgery

Laparoscopy is often used to diagnose causes of abdominal pain. If the doctor finds that he or she can treat the condition during the procedure, diagnostic laparoscopy can turn into operative laparoscopy. This procedure is used to treat many health problems....


Laparoscopy is useful in treating obesity. In this procedure, the surgeon uses an inflatable band to partition the stomach into two parts. He or she then wraps the band around the upper part of your stomach and pulls it tight, like a belt, creating a tiny channel between the two pouches.

The band keeps the opening from expanding and is designed to stay in place indefinitely. But it can be adjusted or surgically removed if necessary. Some surgeons perform this operation laparoscopically.


Endometriosis is a growth of cells similar to those that form the inside of the uterus (endometrial cells) outside of the uterus. Endometrial cells are the same cells that are shed each month during menstruation. When endometrial cells grow outside the uterus, endometriosis results. Laparoscopy is quite effective in determining if endometriosis is present.


Adhesions are tissues in the abdomen which stick together and form scar tissue. Adhesions often are painful. Through laparoscopy, these tissues can be separated.


A fibroid is a benign tumor, especially of the uterine wall that consists of fibrous and muscular tissue. Laparoscopy can diagnose some fibroids.


The laparoscope can be used to assist in a vaginal hysterectomy (removal of the uterus through the vagina). The laparoscope is used to help the doctor see inside the abdomen during part of the surgery.

Infertility and Sterilization

Women who have trouble getting pregnant may have laparoscopy to find problems like endometriosis or cysts. Laparoscopy is also used for sterilization. In this operation, the doctor uses the laparoscope as a guide to block the fallopian tubes by cutting, clipping or burning them.

Ectopic Pregnancy

When a woman has pain in her lower abdomen during early pregnancy, the doctor may suspect an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is one that may be located in the tube instead of the uterus. It may rupture the tube and cause abdominal bleeding that may require emergency surgery.

Benefits of Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy provides the patient with many benefits. Laparoscopy results in smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

The Procedure

The anesthesia used depends on the type of procedure, your doctor's advice, and your personal choice. General anesthesia is usually used so that you will not be awake.

After the anesthesia is given, a small cut is made below or inside the navel. A gas, such as carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide, is usually put into the abdomen. The gas swells the abdomen so the pelvic reproductive organs can be seen more clearly.

The laparoscope is placed through the cut. Another cut is often made above the pubic region. Through this cut, an instrument is used to move the organs into view. Other surgical instruments can be inserted through the scope or through another small cut.

After the procedure, the instruments are removed and the gas released. The cuts are then closed, usually with stitches that dissolve. In a few hours you can go home. You should plan to have someone take you home and stay with you, at least for awhile. Laparoscopy is a technique which allows a surgeon to access the abdomen and reproductive organs.

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